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First Move with Julia Chatterley

Russian Bombardment Continues in Port City of Mariupol; Stoltenberg: I Expect NATO to Strengthen its Posture this Week; Stoltenberg: Putin Must Engage in Real Diplomacy; EU Considers Ban on Russian Oil; Kremlin: Putin has not Yet Achieved his Objective; Project Dynamo Helping Ukrainians to Flee War. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired March 23, 2022 - 09:00   ET




ANNOUNCER: CNN Breaking News.

ELENI GIOKOS, CNN HOST, FIRST MOVE: You're watching CNN. I'm Eleni Giokos. And we are monitoring quite a few pieces of news that are set to hit our

screens in the next hour or so waiting to hear from UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, as well as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

We're also monitoring U.S. President Joe Biden, who is set to leave for Europe today so lots on the go. But let's begin with the latest on Russia's

war on Ukraine. Ukrainian forces fighting to take back territory, this video shows an intense battle in a village about 20 miles Northeast of

Kyiv. The Ukrainian military says it counter attacks north and west of the capital appear to have made some headway however, in the Southern Port City

of Mariupol, the Russian bombardment continues.

New satellite images show more fire and destruction across the city. The Russian military is also firing on the city from ships and that's according

to a senior U.S. defense official. This video shows cruise missiles being launched off the coast of Crimea.

Now in an exclusive interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said Russia has yet to achieve its military goals

in Ukraine. He also refused to rule out that Moscow would consider using nuclear weapons.


DMITRY PESKOV, KREMLIN PRESS SECRETARY: Well, we have a concept of domestic security. And well, its public, you can read all the reasons for nuclear

arms to be used. So if it is an existential straight threat for our country, then it can be used in accordance with our concept.


GIOKOS: And U.S. President Joe Biden will soon be heading to Brussels for a series of meetings. And that's including tomorrow's NATO Summit. It's his

first overseas trip since Russia's invasion of Ukraine last month, and he is expected to announce new sanctions targeting hundreds of Russian


CNN Correspondent Phil Black joins me now from the City of Lviv. Phil I want you to give me a sense of the latest in Lviv, where you are right now.

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lviv here Eleni is a sanctuary, really, for the people that are fleeing the conflict in the rest of the

country. It's also considered something of a logistical hub for getting aid to other parts of the country as well.

It is unbelievably peaceful, certainly compared to those other hotspots that you've already touched on and been discussing. And indeed, where our

coverage is rightly focused. The general dynamic of the war today does indicate a shift of sorts, as you've touched on there in the sense that

yes, there is clear evidence that Ukrainian forces are not just defending now, but counter attacking in key locations to the west and north of Kyiv.

But also we're told in the east, near Izium and in the south around Kherson and Mykolaiv as well. A lot of this analysis comes from U.S. State

Department officials; it also matches and tracks with what our teams are seeing on the ground to a significant extent.

And you get a sense of just how fierce the fighting is? Certainly, I think, from this new video, which was taken to the Northeast of Kyiv in a battle,

a fierce firefight at a train station there where you see the small band of Ukrainian defenders, taking fire returning fire and one of them standing

out in the open repeatedly firing and reloading and firing again, rocket propelled grenade.

So there is on one hand, this cause for optimism, I guess, for the Ukrainian resistance, sort of optimism that was unthinkable just a few

weeks ago. But of course it has to be viewed in the wider context of what we are seeing in terms of Russia's assault on this country because there is

plenty of evidence that reminds us of just how great the firepower they have is?

How great this invading force is, whether it is the shelling of the indiscriminate shelling civilian areas, including the Port City of Mariupol

or more targeted precision, even long distance a further distance fire, further standoff fire from ships and planes and so forth, striking very

specific targets really at will across the country.

So we're at a point in this war where we're about a month in and in one sense, we are in a place where no one really predicted when this started.

That is a place where the Ukrainians are not just defending basically they are counter attacking and where the Russians having still struggled to

build up any momentum.


BLACK: Are still get to take any key military goals. But, of course, there is every reason to believe that this war has a great way to play out.

GIOKOS: Phil, I want you to stay with me. Phil, just stay with me for a second I would like to bring you a few moments ago President Joe Biden

spoke to reporters just as he was leaving for the NATO Summit. Let's take a listen to what he had to say.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I'm going to say that to their face. I'm going to say all I had to say I'm going to say when I

get there. But I'll be happy to talk to you guys when I get back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How concerned are you about the threat of chemical warfare right now that Russia will use chemical weapons, how high is that


BIDEN: I think it's a real threat.


GIOKOS: All right, President Joe Biden there leaves for his European tour. Phil, we just heard him there saying chemical weapons and chemical warfare

it's a real threat right now. You're in the Lviv, as you say it's to a large extent, it has been a sanction. But at the same time, we also heard

Peskov Speaking to CNN saying that they can't rule out nuclear warfare and saying that they haven't achieved their military goals in Ukraine.

BLACK: Yes. Russia has come under some criticism President Putin specifically for in the very early days of this war, publicly ordering the

alert of Russia's deterrent forces, which includes its nuclear arsenal. He was asked - the President Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov was asked by CNN's

Christiane Amanpour, whether Russia would rule out the use of nuclear weapons?

And his response to that was well; we have a doctrine for this. It's a document it's, it's there to be read. And what it says is that when Russia

feels an existential threat, that that is when the use of nuclear weapons is justified. Now what--

GIOKOS: We'll come back to you at a later stage. We are taking now live, the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, he's speaking at this moment,

let's listen in.

JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: - welcoming President Zelenskyy who will address us during the meeting. President Putin's brutal invasion

of Ukraine is causing death and destruction every day. Allies stand united in support for the brave people of Ukraine and against the Kremlin's


Putin must end this war, allow aid and safe passage of civilians and engage in real diplomacy. NATO allies have responded to this crisis with strong

support for Ukraine and unprecedented costs for Russia. NATO has acted with speed and unity to protect and defend all allies.

There are now hundreds of thousands of allied troops at heightened readiness across the lines. 100,000 U.S. troops in Europe and 40,000 forces

under direct NATO command, mostly in the eastern part of the alliance, all backed by major air and naval power, including with five carrier strike

groups in the high north and in the Mediterranean.

At the Summit tomorrow, we will make further decisions. I expect leaders will agree to strengthen NATO's posture in all domains with major increases

to our forces in the eastern part of the alliance, on land, in the air and at sea.

The first step is the deployment of four new NATO battle groups in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia along with our existing forces in

the Baltic countries and Poland this means that we will have eight multinational NATO battleships all along the eastern flank.


STOLTENBERG: From the Baltic to the Black Sea we face a new reality for our security. So we must reset our deterrence and defense for the longer term.

Tomorrow, NATO leaders will reaffirm our support to Ukraine.

Ukraine has the right to self-defense under NATO - under the UN Charter. And we are helping Ukrainians to uphold this fundamental right. Since 2014

allies have chained Ukraine's armed forces and significantly strengthen their capabilities. They are putting that training into practice now on the

frontlines with great bravery.

In the last months, allies have stepped up military support, providing anti-tank and air defense systems, drones, fuel and ammunition as well as

financial aid and hosting millions of refugees. Tomorrow, I expect allies will agree to provide additional support, including cybersecurity

assistance, as well as equipment to help Ukraine protect against chemical, biological, and radiological and nuclear threats.

President Putin's invasion is brutal, and the human suffering is horrifying and painful to witness. We are determined to do all we can to support

Ukraine. But we have a responsibility to ensure that the war does not escalate beyond Ukraine, and become a conflict between NATO and Russia.

This would cause even more death and even more destruction.

I also expect we will agree to step up tailored support for other partners at risk from a Russian pressure, including Georgia and Bosnia Herzegovina.

Working together with the European Union, we must help them to uphold the sovereignty and the right to make independent decisions.

We face a fundamental change security environment where authoritarian powers are increasingly prepared to use force to get their way. So I expect

we will also address the role of China in this crisis. Beijing has joined Moscow in questioning the right of independent nations to choose to choose

their own path.

China has provided Russia with political support, including by spreading blatant lies, and disinformation. And allies are concerned that China

should provide material support for the Russian invasion. I expect leaders will call on China to live up to its responsibilities as a member of the UN

Security Council, refrain from supporting Russia's war effort and join the rest of the world in calling for an immediate, peaceful end to this war.

We also call on Belarus to end its complicity in Putin's invasion. The decisions we take tomorrow will have far reaching implications. Major

reinforcements to our security will require major investments in defense. So I expect allies will agree to redouble their efforts to invest more.

There is a new sense of urgency, because we cannot take peace for granted. From the start of this crisis, Europe and North America have stood

together, united in NATO and we remain united opposing Russia's aggression, supporting Ukraine and protecting all allies. And with that, I'm ready to

take your questions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, we'll start with the CNN lady over there.

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Natasha Bertrand with CNN. Mr. Secretary General Estonia has been calling for NATO to build up a

permanent force in the region that is capable of stopping a Russian offensive but the NATO Russia Founding Act technically does not allow the

alliance to establish permanent military basing and so called new member states.


BERTRAND: And so I'm wondering if you believe that it's time to repeal the NATO Russia Founding Act given its invasion of Ukraine and I'm also

wondering Estonia's Defense Chief had also said that NATO should get involved directly if Russia uses weapons of mass destruction, like chemical


And I'm wondering if these kinds of red lines and how NATO would react if they were crossed are going to be discussed?

STOLTENBERG: First of all, we have to remember that we, over the last weeks have deployed a substantial number of combat ready troops to the eastern

part of alliance, unprecedented NATO presence in the Baltic region, including Estonia.

And I've been installing myself and I'm seeing the NATO troops there, we actually doubled the size of the NATO battle group. And we have doubled the

number of battle groups in eastern part alliance. So not only double the size, but also double the number of battle groups close to 40,000 troops on

the Dark NATO Command, and then on top of that, increase the presence by the United States and others within the bilateral arrangements.

So, in totality, this is a significant reinforcement of our presence in the east, including in Estonia, with air sea and land forces, we are ready and

we are there to protect and defend allies is ready to respond massively to any potential effects attack against any NATO allied country.

This has already happened. So this reinforcement has already taken place. And we will learn also tomorrow make decisions and declare, that we have

deployed far more about two to three Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania.

Then these need to also address the more long term consequences. So in addition to what we have already done, I expect also allied leaders

tomorrow to agree a tasking to our military commanders to look into the more longer term consequences for our deterrence and defense.

There is a need to reset our deterrence and defense and I expect that to be a substantial increase of presence for the long term. And we will do what

is necessary to ensure that we protect and defend all allies and ensure that NATO provides credible deterrence on defense to all countries

including Estonia.

Russia has walked away from the NATO Russia Founding Act, they have violated again and again, they violated clearly back in 2014, when they

illegally annexed Crimea, and started to de-stabilize Eastern Ukraine. And they have violated it when they moved into Georgia in 2008.

And, of course, the invasion of Ukraine now is a blatant violation of the NATO Russia Founding Act. On chemical weapons first of all, in the use of

chemical weapons with totally changed the nature of the conflict. And it will be a blatant violation of international law, and will have far

reaching consequences.

And I think that's the most important message to convey that any use of chemical weapons is absolutely unacceptable, and will have far reaching


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Next we got to NBC lady red in the middle.

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS: Secretary General, President Biden in leaving Washington just said that he believes that the use of chemical weapons by

Russia in Ukraine is a real threat. You have just said that we cannot take peace for granted and there is no sign certainly that Vladimir Putin is

taking diplomacy seriously.

And here we have President Zelenskyy, who will plead again with NATO for admission to NATO. If chemical weapons are used in Ukraine, how would it be

morally acceptable for NATO to ignore President Zelenskyy's plea for NATO admission - for NATO admission to ignore his plea to be admitted to NATO?


STOLTENBERG: What we see in Ukraine now is really painful. It's horrific and we see the brutal consequences of full-fledged invasion over peaceful

independent sovereign nation.


STOLTENBERG: And that's also reason why NATO allies have stepped up support, including with advanced air defense systems, anti-tank systems,

different types of weapons, ammunition, and we are providing unprecedented support to Ukraine.

And this is actually also comes on top of what we have done for many years, because NATO allies have changed tens of thousands of Ukrainian troops

since 2014. And they are now on the frontline fighting the invading forces.

And it is first and foremost the courage of the Ukrainian forces and Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian leadership that has enabled them to

resist and to fight back against the Russia innovation. But at the same time, the support they have received for many years has proven extremely

important and critical.

And I expect that when our leaders meet tomorrow, they will address how to further strengthen our support to Ukraine. NATO membership is not on the

agenda. But support to Ukraine is absolutely on top of our agenda and will be one of the main issues to be addressed tomorrow.


GIOKOS: Alright, that's Jens Stoltenberg he is the NATO Secretary General addressing the media there and just giving a little bit of insight into

what is going to be discussed at the extraordinary meeting by NATO members.

Of course, President Joe Biden currently on his way to Europe right now, some of what he said. He said the decisions that will be taken tomorrow are

going to have far reaching implications. He talked about China and Russia, of course, that the support there that China has been giving Russia, as

well as Belarus, saying that those two countries need to step back.

He also said that they're shoring up battle groups in the eastern flank, specifically talking about hundreds and thousands of troops that now have

been positioned in those areas. We've got Jim Bittermann for us; he is standing by to give us a little bit of insight.

It was truly interesting to hear the NATO Secretary General peppering us with a bit of information about what will come during tomorrow. But I have

to say when you're talking about unprecedented decisions that are going to be taken, but still walking eggshells around whether they're going to allow

Ukraine to join NATO.

The big question on what they will do if there are weapons of mass destruction involved or chemical weapons being used? He's basically saying

that deterrence and defense needs to be reset. What did you make of some of that messaging?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think he's trying to keep it ambiguous until he gets leaders together tomorrow,

because I think that's going to be some differences between the NATO members.

We've already seen that very publicly, Poland would like to take a more aggressive stance Hungary a less, and so you're going to see some

discussion around the table at the NATO Summit tomorrow, exactly which direction NATO should go.

And there are all sorts of things that they might be considering, including what - saying, suggesting making the Ukraine part of NATO, but also a brave

bringing in more weapons and that sort of thing. So there are a number of issues that are going to be in front of them.

That's one of the reasons why it's such a significant summit and why it is, in fact, a summit because you have to get the leaders of all the various

countries in NATO together to have them decide on any of those, Eleni.

GIOKOS: Yes. I want to talk about something that's hit on news wires Anatoly Chubais a Russian government insider for decades, you know, showing

loyalty to Vladimir Putin to a large extent for a long time. We're hearing that he's leaving Russia. He has no plans to return. What is going on day

this is perhaps a sign that Putin is losing some of his insiders and people close to him?

BITTERMANN: Well, it could be. Certainly with Chubais he is one of the insiders of the insiders. He's kind of the oligarch of the oligarchs. He

was the person who was in charge first under Yeltsin, and then later under Putin of privatizing all the state run industries, after the Soviet Union

fell apart.

And as such, he created many of these oligarchs by doling out the industries to some of Vladimir Putin's friends when Vladimir Putin became

the leader. So he was - he is one of the real insiders there. One thing we know is that TASS has confirmed he stepped down from his position, which is

a sort of an international position where he has relations with environmental groups around the world.

He stepped down from that position. But Reuters is reporting additionally that he has left the country if that's the case, it is a significant sign

of one of the insiders abandoning ship Eleni.

GIOKOS: Jim Bittermann, thank you very much for that analysis great to have you on.


GIOKOS: Now as the conflict drags on there are warnings about the massive long term damage to Ukraine and its economy. The UN recently said the

destruction of Ukraine's infrastructure has cost more than $100 billion and counting, saying that 90 percent of the country could simply free fall into


Yuriy Vitrenko is the CEO of Naftogaz Gas, Ukraine's largest national oil and gas company, and served as the Ukrainian Energy Minister. He joins us

now live from Ukraine sir, really good to have you on the show.

Before we get into the details of the infrastructure issue that we're facing right now in Ukraine, how you doing? How's your family doing, and

importantly, your team that is still very much working to ensure that gas supplies don't stop to the most needy people across the country?

YURIY VITRENKO, CEO, NAFTOGAZ: Of course, it's not easy for Ukrainians to live through these horrors of the war. Our employees, they have to work

because we have to keep the Ukrainians warm. I'm now in Kyiv that's our Capital. Air raids are constant but we have to live under this condition.

And not just to leave, but also to work to again to ensure that people are warm.

GIOKOS: So we know we've heard so many of these stories where people are left in the cold that they haven't been able to get any heating. Could you

talk to me about the gas pipelines and the critical infrastructure that supports civilians and whether you think that Russia has been deliberately

targeting those gas pipelines because there are other gas pipelines that feed into Europe? Could you give me a sense of what's going on there?

VITRENKO: Yes. Ukraine is not a developed country in terms of centralization of its infrastructure, about 90 percent of Ukrainian homes

use gas as a major source of energy. And because Putin's blitzkrieg failed, he started targeting deliberately civilian infrastructure to create

humanitarian catastrophes, and to put additional pressure on Ukraine to give up cities like Mariupol, Donetsk and Kharkiv are big cities.

Again, people are there without electricity, reheating, which more than a week, and even today, for example, we had to shut down the last heating

plant in Donetsk because of the heavy bombing and shelling, so people will be left without heating. And that's a deliberate attack by Russians.

GIOKOS: Well, Yuriy, what is that - what percentage of the critical civilian infrastructure that supplies gas has been destroyed would you say?

VITRENKO: Currently, I would say it's about 10 percent so major parts of Ukraine were still able to provide gas over there electricity and other

utilities. We are trying to do our best and still to deliver, again, these critical supplies in areas where it's possible.

GIOKOS: I want to talk about the gas pipelines that run through Ukraine that go into Europe, and whether there's been any interruption in the

supply chain from Russia into European countries. And what's your assessment do you think we'll see an interruption?

VITRENKO: Currently, there is no interruption and there's no damage. So it's also obvious that Russians are trying not to damage this high pressure

pipeline that transit gas from Russia to Europe. So they're targeting low pressure pipelines, so called distribution pipelines, but not the high

pressure pipeline.

Let's see how it develops because they are harassing our employees in the occupied territories, they try to interfere in our systems without them

that it's not acceptable and in dangerous transit. So but it's still kind of an ongoing problem in those stations that are in the occupied


GIOKOS: So you know, you're the Former Energy Minister, you are now you know, heading up this important utility in Ukraine, how does it make you

feel that the invader is sending gas to your allies through your country right now? Do you feel that there should be sanctions against this?

VITRENKO: Yes. We are very consistent in terms of demanding full embargo and Russian gas and oil because Putin uses his money on his war machine to

kill Ukrainians, and to wage this aggressive war all over the world. So that's why it shouldn't be stopped.

If some European countries at the moment still depend on Russian gas and oil to an extent that they cannot stop purchasing it then at least so

called - accounts should be used that Putin cannot get money for the exports of oil and gas.


VITRENKO: And this money is frozen until he militarily withdraws from Ukraine. That's something that we could see in, in case of Iranian

sanctions. So that's something that should be done immediately so that Putin stops getting this money.

GIOKOS: Yuriy Vitrenko, thank you very much for joining us, really good to have you on the show and we wish you all the best. Take care.

VITRENKO: Thank you, bye.

GIOKOS: We're going to a short break and when we return, we'll have Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour joining us to talk about her

interview with Peskov and how nuclear seems to still be on the table for the Russians. We'll be right back.


GIOKOS: Nearly four weeks into Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov told Christiane Amanpour, President Putin has not

achieved his main objectives yet.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: What do you foresee because this was going to be according to your own side, and then the press

in the state sponsored media in Russia, a pretty quick operation? It was even suggested that, you know, within a couple of days that "Ukraine" would

return to "Mother Russia". What has gone wrong? And what do you see for the next phase of this?

PESKOV: Well, of course, no one would think from the very beginning about a couple of days. It's a serious operation with serious purposes. And I think

if we try to remember those purposes, those main goals of the operation are to get rid of the military potential of Ukraine. And actually this is why

our military are targeting only military goals and military objects on the territory of Ukraine, not civil ones.


PESKOV: Russian military are not hitting civil aims civil targets. Number two, is to ensure that Ukraine changes from entire Russian center to a

neutral country. And in this sense, let's remember that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, actually, the neutral status was fixed in a

declaration of independence of the country.

Number three, to get rid of the nationalist battalions and nationalist regiments, who are now actually who are now opposing Russian troops, who

are now trying to cover themselves under the shield of civilians, thus, paving a way for civil casualties.

AMANPOUR: Dmitry--

PESKOV: And also--


PESKOV: And those, I beg your pardon, if you feel let me and also to ensure to ensure that Ukraine acknowledges the fact that Crimea is also an

unthinkable part of Russia, and that People's Republics of Luhansk and Donetsk are already independent States that Ukraine actually has lost them

after the coup that happened in 2014.

AMANPOUR: OK, so basically, you are putting in laying out the original demands from President Putin, which I understand seem not to have changed.


GIOKOS: CNN Chief International Anchor, Christiane Amanpour joins me now live from Brussels, really well to see you, Christiane. Thanks so much for

joining us. Honestly, it was completely surreal to watch parts of that interview. Were you surprised that Peskov told you Russia's goals in

Ukraine have not been achieved yet? And what does that tell you?

AMANPOUR: Well, I was somewhat surprised by that. But I was also alarm because what it tells you is that they plan to stay in this for the long

haul, at least that's what he was indicating. And not just stay in it for the long haul, but to achieve the maximalist goals that they set out from

the beginning.

So that is something that I think the world has to reckon with as they try to figure out where this end game if there is an endgame, if there's any

possibility of a negotiated end to this, or where it might lie.

At the moment, there seems to be absolutely no daylight on that. And I spoke to the president of the EU Council, along with the United States and

other officials, they actually not sure that the Russians, President Putin is at all serious about negotiating right now.

And perhaps is just stringing the process along stringing Ukrainians along and just potentially trying to ramp up the military, the military

offensive. Now, the other thing, of course, which is very alarming, is this idea, which as we know, is part of their military doctrine.

And that is to throw out disinformation and misinformation, and see what sticks in order to confuse their hope, the west and there, you know, their

adversaries and their allies around the world. That is this notion that they are not targeting civilian infrastructure, or that brigades are hiding

in hospitals in the light.

This there is no evidence of, but it is a tried and tested a tactic, certainly by the Russians, it goes all the way back to what we call the -

of doctrine, they have perfected war by alternative means. And that is a war of information, disinformation and outright misinformation. So that's

what's happening there.

But the west is very concerned that this stalling of the ground offensive will lead to even more of these brutal attacks on the civilians, whether

it's from the air as we see more and more of whether it's long range artillery, whether it's from boats in your ships off the coast of Mariupol,

as we've been seeing.

And these are very, very, very difficult days for those towns, because the objective is to terrorize the population, to get them to leave to

surrender, but most importantly, to get the government and its troops to surrender the Ukrainians and they refused point blank to do that.

GIOKOS: Yes, I mean, honestly, it was incredible to see the unapologetic stance about the falsehoods that he was spreading. And I know you spoke to

the EU Council President, but we just heard from the NATO Chief and he says the decisions that will be taken tomorrow will have far reaching


I want you to tell me about the significance of the show of force at the moment with Joe Biden being in town for this NATO summit.

AMANPOUR: Well, look, it's really significant. I mean, he's here for a NATO summit and an EU summit is the first time that an American president has

been invited to an actual EU summit, not a bilateral EU U.S., but the 27 leaders of the EU invited their special guests, the President of The United


Their exclusive special guess - is how they put it and this is really important to keep not just the reality of united front but the

demonstration of a united front, for the world and especially for Ukraine and for President Putin.


AMANPOUR: I spoke to the EU council president. And he basically said that in many, many, many instances on many levels, President Putin has

miscalculated, not just in terms of how quick he thought his ground offensive would go. But in the political sphere, as well listen to what he



CHARLES MICHEL, EUROPEAN COUNCIL PRESIDENT: Probably they thought that the EU would be immediately divided in that you would not be able to take

united decisions. This was also a mistake, probably; they would have felt that the United States and the EU, we would not be able to be exactly on

the same page.

And to and to strengthen this, these alliances, it means that what's important, we must make sure that Putin will be defeated, it must be the

common goal. This is a question of security for the future of Europe and for the future of the world.


AMANPOUR: So Eleni, that is the most important statement that he just made no wishy washy semi deals that allow, you know, this kind of aggression to

stand. But to, as he said, make sure Putin and the Putin idea is defeated. Putinism when it comes to Europe and the rest of the world. So that's

really important. And clearly, it's not just a political agenda, but it is the NATO agenda as well.

So when we, when we hear tomorrow from the U.S. president, from the other NATO leaders from the Secretary General, I have an interview with him

tomorrow, re posturing, NATO forces to meet the current challenge, and those that might emerge in the future. And one of those challenges on the

political and economic front you just heard from Ukrainian former energy minister is about energy and the dependence of Europe on Russian oil.

Michel admits that, yes, this is a sad reality that unlike the United States, they are really dependent on Russia, for their oil and gas. So they

are trying to get a plan B, to be able to get oil and gas and that kind of energy from places other than Russia.

GIOKOS: Yes, I mean, I'm so glad you mentioned the issue on oil and gas. And again, you're seeing those pipelines, going from Russia, through

Ukraine and into Europe. It is a hot topic. But what is the appetite?

And I know you touched on this now what is the real appetite in your prognosis in your mind, about whether the Europe is ready to take these

very tough decisions. It's a double edged sword, but it's one that needs to happen relatively quickly.

AMANPOUR: Well, as they say, sort of almost like threading the needle, they say we have to do this. But we also have to be careful about our own

economies and our own citizens. That's what they're saying in the United States as well.

These are really tough decisions that have to be taken. I mean, on the one hand, if you want to look at a silver lining, it is an absolute kick in the

correct place for the sparing of, you know, trying to get renewables up all the promises that all our leaders have been making through COP 1 through 26

to get renewables as a real alternative.

This could be the turning point for that, but it doesn't happen overnight. And so they've got to figure out how to replenish and how to be able to get

other kinds of energy, sadly, still fossil fuel that can make them, you know, less dependent on Russia.

And that's basically where we are at the moment. You heard the energy minister, it was really interesting saying that, OK, if you have to take it

from Russia, put the money in an escrow account, don't just give it to Putin to fund his war machine.

There's another issue that's coming up. And something to ask European certainly, apparently, quite a lot of the money does go to Russia, but not

in Russia itself, outside Russia to various accounts and headquarters that their gas and oil industries may have for instance, in Switzerland.

Anyway, that needs a little bit more investigation and to be asked more deeply, but their ways of trying to not allow Putin to benefit from this

while also not you know, starving Europe of the necessary gas and energy needs.

GIOKOS: Absolutely, Christiane you couldn't have said it better. It is a double edged sword and it's a tough decision. But you know, whenever there

are sanctions in place countries always try and find a way around them.

Thank you so much for being on the show. It was really good to speak with you, all right and more to come from CNN after the break, stay with us.



GIOKOS: Welcome back. Now combat veterans are entering hostile zones again this time to help rescue Ukrainians. Veteran rescue group project dynamo

was originally founded in an effort to save American civilians and U.S. allies in Afghanistan.

Since the start of the Russian invasion, the organization has received over 14,000 requests for help from desperate Ukrainians. Bryan Stern, the Co-

founder of Project Dynamo joins me now, he's an army and navy combat veteran.

And he was a 911 first responder, Brian, really an honor to have you on. Thanks so much for joining us. And you've had 19 successful rescue missions

thus far. I want you to give me a sense of just how much work you've been able to do since the start of the war.

BRYAN STERN, THE CO-FOUNDER OF PROJECT DYNAMO: Actually, the data is a little old. We're at I think 26 operations, including the one that I'm on

right now. So we've done all kinds of stuff. We've done buses, we've done babies, we rescued an 82nd airborne paratrooper that was trapped surrounded

by Russians two days ago.

Surrogate babies, British babies, American babies, all kinds of stuff, including a couple of dogs, cats, and even a guinea pig, hardly enough.

GIOKOS: That's what, look, that's actual, that's wonderful news. You know, since the start of this war, we've seen humanitarian corridors supposedly

opening up and some were actually death traps. How difficult has it been for you and your team to help people get out from the most difficult of

situations in the hardest hit cities?

STERN: We think this Ukraine is an active war zone. So we had artillery in Kyiv about two hours ago. So make no mistake, it is a war zone. People die

here every single day. These operations are incredibly complex, some more than others. But, but it is a challenge every single day, every time we do

something, it's hard, that's for sure.

GIOKOS: Look, you've also done a lot of work in other war zones, and particularly in Afghanistan. A conflict is a conflict and the loss of life

is absolutely devastating. But are there a way you can give me a sense of the level of conflict that you're seeing and devastation and the specific

civilian targets that are pretty unprecedented that we've been seeing happening in Ukraine?

STERN: Yes, the civilian targeting aspect of this war is by far catastrophic. People I asked this question all the time, I equated to, to

almost a natural disaster.

There are parts of Ukraine that look like Haiti after the earthquake was just piles of buildings and rubble. And that says a result of mostly

Russian artillery and missiles a little bit of tank but mostly artillery and missiles.


STERN: So this is a humanitarian crisis of, of humongous proportions. And when war happens, it's always terrible. It always is no matter what, no

matter what the reason or the cause behind it, I spent most of my life in conflict zones. But the people that pay the most of the civilians in

between the warring parties, that's for sure.

GIOKOS: So when you see a maternity hospital being targeted, which of course lets you know, make it clear here, this is the most vulnerable part

of the community, pregnant women and newborn babies. What does this tell you about the willingness for Russian military to target indiscriminately?

And how does that affect your missions when you're looking at how this is going to turn out?

STERN: That targeting kind of motivates us or compels us to act. I'm not here dynamos not here to rescue Ukrainian soldiers. Not that we have a

problem with it or anything. We are here for civilians who need our help and assistance.

So when I see vulnerable populations, the most vulnerable populations like babies being targeted, that that makes my team not want to sleep for three

or four days and pull out as many as we possibly can. And that's what we do. We brought a baby across yesterday; an American Baby from Indiana came

across yesterday.

GIOKOS: Well, that's great news that you're able to assist the most vulnerable. Brian, what do you need? I know you're an NGO, you rely on

funding. How has the funding been going? And have you been able to access resources to make your work easier?

STERN: Yes, so we need money and we need, we need money back, click the donate button. You give money, we save lives,

whether it be babies, or Veterans or Americans or Ukrainians, or Afghans, or Canadians or whoever, all of which we've rescued in the last 10 days.

So we need general, we need generous donors to help us the funding is difficult, we need to keep the story alive. This is very, very, very far

from over. And we're doing ops every single day, including as I talk to you right now.

GIOKOS: Well, good luck on your projects. Good luck on your rescue missions. And we really wish you all the best. And we'll hopefully catch up

very soon with more good news stories. Thank you, Bryan, all the best to you and your team. Much appreciate it. All right, more to come from CNN

after the short break stay with us.


GIOKOS: Just in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow says detained American pro basketball player Brittney Griner is in good condition after being granted

consular access to her. As the department spokesman told CNN's Poppy Harlow they are continuing to make sure she is treated fairly.

Now earlier this week U.S. Ambassador John Sullivan met with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and demanded Russia "follow international law

and basic human decency to allow consular access to all U.S. citizens detained in Russia, including those in pretrial detention".


GIOKOS: Finally, a show of defiance from young Ukrainians in Turkey sailors from a youth sailing school in Odessa tried to stop super yacht from

docking in the ports of Bodrum because it's believed to belong to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.

The team waved flags and chanted no war in Ukraine. The coach said it was the team's decision to try and block the yacht and that they want to show

everyone who Ukraine is. The yacht eventually docked on Monday evening.

All right, so that's it for the show. I'm Eleni Giokos in Dubai. Thanks so much for watching. "Connect the World" with Becky Anderson is up next.